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Online startup makes saving money a community goal

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The founders of Honolulu-based alternative energy company Hoku Corp. have launched an online “social savings” business aimed at helping individuals and organizations raise funds for specific goals.

Savingspoint, founded a week ago by serial entrepreneurs Dustin Shindo and Kaleo Taft, makes saving money a “community effort,” the company said in a news release to be issued today.

The company makes it possible for nonprofit organizations to raise money via a website where donors can go to contribute and where progress toward a goal is tracked.

The website can also be used by individuals who are working toward a goal — such a paying for college — and hoping to get family members or friends to contribute.

“Savingspoint has such broad market appeal,” said Shindo, chief executive officer. “The couple who is expecting, the college student, the not-for-profit, they all could benefit from using Savingspoint.”

Deposits will be held at American Savings Bank and be insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. The savings will earn interest of 1 percent annually.

Savingspoint collects a transaction fee of 2.9 percent on contributions made by credit card.

The money saved can be withdrawn at any time.

The company, with eight employees, is headquartered in the Central Pacific Bank building in Kaimuki at 3465 Waialae Ave.

“Anybody with a cause that people want to get behind, I think Savingspoint could play a role in helping them achieve their goals,” Taft said. “It’s not the end-all, be-all, but there’s a use for it in situations that could be helpful. You can designate to specific funds and also know who’s giving — it’s more of a powerful tool.”

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